With spring ball having come and gone, we'll be updating our Big 12 position-group rankings over the next two weeks.
We continue this series with the wide receivers:
1. Baylor (pre-spring ranking: 1): The Bears appear to have the No. 1 receiving corps again this year, but Oklahoma State and TCU aren’t too far behind. KD Cannon is a strong No. 1 option to lead a starting group with Lynx Hawthorne, Ishmael Zamora and Chris Platt or Blake Lynch. Redshirt freshman Pooh Stricklin made good progress this spring. Converted QB Chris Johnson settled back in at receiver and will be an intriguing option. And there’s still more help on the way: Freshman Devin Duvernay should make an instant impact.
2. Oklahoma State (2): Mason Rudolph definitely has enough to work with here, because the Cowboys have an impressive amount of experienced depth at receiver. James Washington has a chance to be one of the nation’s more exciting wideouts this fall, and Marcell Ateman probably doesn’t get enough hype. Rising sophomore Jalen McCleskey should make a leap this season, and the Pokes will put back Blake Jarwin to good use.
3. TCU (3): The Horned Frogs nearly moved up to No. 2 based on the impressive collection of pass-catchers they developed this spring. Freshman Isaiah Graham and LSU transfer John Diarse made a big first impression. Getting Deante Gray and Ty Slanina back from injury provides a major boost for this group. The trio of Jaelan Austin, Emanuel Porter and Taj Williams will give TCU some big targets outside to complement one of the Big 12’s best playmakers, KaVontae Turpin.
4. West Virginia (4): In Shelton Gibson, Daikiel Shorts and Ka'Raun White, the Mountainers have a quality starting trio to build around. Gary Jennings and Marcus Simms should help this group quite a bit, as would the return of Jovon Durante from his spring suspension. Steven Smothers should be a nice weapon in the slot, too.
5. Texas Tech (5): No. 1 rated junior college transfer WR Derrick Willies came in as good as advertised, and that makes this group a dangerous one. Willies and Dylan Cantrell as the outside receivers is a solid duo to build around. Ian Sadler and Cameron Batson look like the best options at inside receiver, and Reginald Davis had a good spring. Devin Lauderdale could rejoin the team this summer, too. Patrick Mahomes will have a lot of options.
6. Oklahoma (6): Depth was a question mark this spring, but a number of receivers stepped up. Dede Westbrook should lead this group and get even better, and Penn State transfer Geno Lewis is a key piece. But the emergence of A.D. Miller was encouraging, and Bob Stoops likes what he has with Jarvis Baxter, Dahu Green, Michiah Quick and Jeffery Mead. And we can’t overlook Mark Andrews, who ought to be the Big 12’s top tight end this fall.
7. Texas (8): The Longhorns are feeling a little better about their options at receiver after 6-foot-6 freshman Collin Johnson emerged this spring. If Armanti Foreman can play at a consistent level and John Burt keeps improving as a sophomore, the Horns will be solid at receiver. Whether Texas has enough depth will depend on the development of a few veterans (Jacorey Warrick, Lorenzo Joe, Jake Oliver) and the sophomores and freshmen in August.
8. Iowa State (7): We know what the Cyclones have in Allen Lazard. He already has logged 101 catches over his first two seasons. It’s hard to tell who the Cyclones’ No. 2 receiver will be from the trio of Dondre Daley, Jauan Wesley and Trever Ryen. They’ll need Justin Chandler or another one of their tight ends to become a productive threat.
9. Kansas State (10): Byron Pringle did enough this spring to move K-State out of the No. 10 spot. The junior college transfer wowed everyone, putting up 163 receiving yards in KSU’s spring game, and should be the go-to receiver in his first year on campus. Corey Sutton, Isaiah Zuber and Zach Reuter showing the progress they made this spring was crucial, too.
10. Kansas (9): The star of the spring for the Jayhawks was speedy Texas A&M transfer LaQuvionte Gonzalez. Adding him to the mix instantly improves their young receiving corps. The continued growth of sophomores Steven Sims Jr. and Jeremiah Booker is important, and Ben Johnson gives KU a reliable target at tight end.